Alexis Rhone Fancher
Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely) As my mama used to say, old enough to know better.
Location and occupation?
San Pedro, California (20 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles, on the beach)
Occupation? Full-time writer/editor. Street and portrait photographer. Private chef for my husband of 16 years.
How long have you been writing?
Writing since I was a kid. Writing seriously since 2008. Writing for publication since late 2012.
Do you play an instrument as well?
I played guitar when I was younger, before I sold my 0018 rosewood Martin guitar for rent money. Sometimes I dream about it.
Do you have a specific writing style? I’ve been called a confessional writer. I strive for fearlessness.
Hobbies? I have a “green thumb” and love to garden. I enjoy cooking. I’m a voracious reader.
Do you write full-time? Yes.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? Since 2014 I have four published books of poetry. Two more, a chapbook, THE DEAD KID POEMS, and EROTIC, a full-length “new & collected” will be published in 2019. And in 2016 Edward Hirsch chose my poem, “When I turned fourteen, my mother’s sister took me to lunch and said:” to be published in Best American Poetry 2016.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Getting it right.
What projects of yours have been recently published? Books or Magazines?
At the end of 2018 several my poems were published in Italian translation in the book Anthology of Contemporary American Women Poets (Italia), curated by Alessandra Bava, alongside poems by Natalie Diaz, Francesca Bell, Maggie Smith, Diane Seuss, Patricia Smith, Joy Harjo, Nikky Finney, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jenn Givhan, and Kelli Russell Agadon.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I’m writing a photo-graphic noir novella, My Criminal Boyfriend, a cross-country crime romp. I hope to have a finished first draft by summer, 2019. Stay tuned!
Where can we find your work? I have been published over 200 times in such diverse publications as: Rattle, Verse Daily, Nashville Review, Plume, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Hobart, H_NGM_N, Blood Orange Review, The MacGuffin, Bloom, ONE, Pirene’s Fountain, Literary Mama, Paterson Literary Journal (2019) Duende (2019), and elsewhere. Find my work in more than 50 anthologies, including Wide Awake: The Poets Of Los Angeles. My essays/non fiction have appeared in Unmasked, Women Write about Sex and Intimacy after 50, Shark Reef, and many other publications, and my feminist anthem, “I Prefer Pussy” has been published numerous times, including in the New York Times’ op ed page and in the best-selling, Nasty Women Poets Anthology.
How do you react to rejections? I send out more work, immediately. It is a numbers game.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? I do the happy dance, make myself another cup of French Roast coffee, and go back to work.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Not sure thats always possible. Stay focused. Edit your work. Believe in yourself. Keep breathing.
What is your favorite book? Novels? John Fowles’ The Magus, is right up there with Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, and I loved Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet. Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone, and Edward P. Jones’ The Known World are also favorites.
Who is your favorite author? Novelist? I love Donna Tartt. Also Michael Cunningham. John Cheever. Thomas Pynchon. Poets? These days I’m really into Michelle Bitting. Her latest, Broken Kingdom, is incredible. I’m also reading Richard Jones’ new book, Stranger On Earth, which is spectacular.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? Joseph Cotten in The Third Man. No. Orson Welles in The Third Man. Why? I’m a fool for noir.
What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? It’s a toss up between jealousy and complacency.
What makes you laugh? I love stand up comedy.
What makes you cry? Deliberate cruelty.
What is your preferred drink while you write? Freshly brewed French Roast coffee with a dollop of cream.
Beach or Mountains? These days I’m living on the beach, lusting for the mountains.
Cats or Dogs? Cats. Although I love Dalmatians!
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? If you’d asked me back in the day, the rocker in me would’ve said Stones. Now, I kinda like em both.
Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix. Absolutely.
Shakespeare or Bukowski? Although I live in Bukowski’s zip code in San Pedro, if I had to choose, I’d say Shakespeare.
Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit your country?
Come to California for our beautiful beaches! Climate! Mountains! Art! Culture! Tolerance! You’re in danger of wanting to stay.
Links to my books for sale on the web:
Poem for Mary, My College Roommate, Who Sells Drugs & Wants To Be A Porn Star
Take off your clothes or get out! the director shouts.
You’re entering my set!
I thought I was entering my apartment.
I traverse a writhing girl, trip over her muscular,
long-haired lover. Mary waves from our sofa. She’s naked,
except for a glittering tiara.
A man’s head emerges from between her thighs.
Hungry, I head for the kitchen.
When I grab a jar of Nutella from the ‘fridge,
the director is behind me, still shooting.
We’ll film it, he says.
You could smear the stuff all over you.
Mary could lick it off.
Mary’s Boyfriend, Ron
breaks into the bathroom while I shower.
He reaches through the curtain,
offers to scrub my back.
I offer to call the cops.
While my roommate sleeps,
Ron slithers between my sheets,
his snake dick seeking me out like prey.
What will Mary say? I ask.
Ron shrugs. Who’s going to tell her?
The Next Day
I slide open the door of my closet:
floor to ceiling bricks of marijuana,
pungent and penitentiary-worthy,
wall in my wardrobe.
Don’t worry, Mary promises.
It’ll all be gone in the morning.
(first published in Carbon Culture Review, 2018)
The Famous Poet Asks Me For Naked Photos
1. “You are a forbidden planet,”
he says at the bar after his reading,
when all the hangers-on have gone.
He drains his third martini.
Encouraged, he puts his arm
around my shoulder, confesses
he can jack off to a photo only once;
he needs a constant supply.
2. The famous poet smells
musty, shopworn. He pops a breath mint,
runs a hand through his silver mane.
“You are my muse and savior,” he says,
right after he tells me his second wife
no longer likes sex.
He smoothes an aberrant bang
from my forehead.
“Are you clean-shaven?” he asks,
staring at the mystery between my thighs.
“Or do you roll au naturelle?”
3. The famous poet wants me to
take a selfie in the ladies’,
pull my skirt up and my panties
down, and I admit, it gets me wet.
Like him, I’m not getting any at home.
I want to wrap my legs around his head.
4. The famous poet swears his wife
is cool with his serial betrayals,
that they inhabit different countries
in the same, small house.
But I’ve seen his wife at parties, how
his philandering makes her flinch,
the face of desperation, choked down,
Sylvia Plath style.
The face that wants me to suffocate
like Sylvia did
and watch. The face that says
once I was you.
Published in DIODE, 2017